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Itinerary

Machame Route - Climb Kilimanjaro

Our Kilimanjaro climb recommended in Outside Magazine’s “6 Iconic Hikes You Should Do” 2017.

Upon sign up, we will send you our richly detailed, pre-trip Climber Information Package.

Our Kilimanjaro climbs begin and end via flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania. Most flights directly to Arusha are not available for purchase online. For travel arrangements, we recommend Charles Mulvehill at Scan East West Travel at 1-800-727-2157 or at 206-623 2157. Or email charles@scaneastwest.com.

Day 1

Depart country of origin for Kilimanjaro International Airport, Tanzania (JRO).

Day 2

Arrive in Tanzania. Airport pick-up and transfer to New Arusha Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania.

Day 3

Orientation and gear check. We meet over breakfast at the hotel and join a detailed group orientation covering all aspects of the climb. After lunch we have a through equipment check, and those interested can join a walking tour (offsite) of Arusha before dinner. O/N New Arusha Hotel.

Machame Route start to finish. Data is approximate.
Distance: 64 km/39 miles in 7 days
Elevation gain: 4,891 m/16,044 ft.
Elevation loss: 5,020 m/16,444 ft.

Day 4

We travel by Land Cruiser to the Machame trailhead, winding through coffee fields and small forests of ferns and flowers. After registering with the park service, we meet our porters from the Chagga Tribe, indigenous to the slopes of Kilimanjaro. They are an integral part of our African journey and become friends and provide insight into their culture and society. Our climb begins on the edge of a rain forest (elevation 5,800 ft.). Below the watchful eyes of the monkeys, we trek seven hours to the Machame Camp (10,000 ft.) and set camp for the night.

Climb Day 1 Start: Machame Gate 1,830 m/6,000 ft.
End: Machame Hut 3,000 m/9,900 ft.
Elevation gain: 1,200 m/3,900 ft.
Time: 6 hours on average
Distance: About 10 km/6 miles

Day 5

Leave the Machame Hut, cross a small valley, and begin our ascent. The environment changes from heath forest to moor lands. These moor lands are littered with two species of giant groundsel, senecios and lobelia. Halfway up the trail we meet a river gorge and ascend across the Shira Plateau (12,300 ft.). We sleep at Shira Camp.

Climb Day 2 Start: Machame Hut 3,000 m/9,900 ft.
End: Shira Hut 3,800 m/12,500 ft.
Elevation gain: 800 m/2,600 ft.
Time: 4–6 hours average
Distance: About 8 km/5 miles

Day 6

Today we climb to 14,800 ft. while crossing a ridge and viewing the plains far below. Here we eat lunch and admire the ancient glacier ice of the Breach Wall before dropping to our 12,800-ft. campsite at Great Barranco.

Climb Day 3 Start: Shira Hut 3,800 m/12,500 ft.
End: Barranco Hut 3,900 m/12,900 ft.
Elevation gain: 2,100 ft.
Elevation loss: 520 m/1,700 ft.
Time: 7–9 hours average
Distance: About 10 km/6 miles
* Day includes critical acclimatization gain/loss
* Lava Tower option: additional 600 ft. of gain/loss

Day 7

We climb up and over the Great Barranco, topping out at about 14,500 ft. before dropping to our camp at the Karanga River at about 13,000 ft. This completes another day of acclimatization as we pass below the famous Breach Wall, the largest ice and rock face in Africa. The Breach Wall climbing route, known as “The Icicle,” was first climbed in the early 1970’s by Reinhold Messner. Daytime temperatures can reach 80 degrees F, while evening temperatures often drop below freezing.

Climb Day 4 Start: Barranco Hut 3,900 m
End: Karanga Valley 4,055 m/13,300 ft.
Elevation gain: 400 m/1,300 ft.
Elevation loss: 300 m/1,000 ft.
Time: 4–5 hours average
Distance: About 5 km/3 miles

Day 8

From the Karanga River we climb about five to six hours to our High Camp at Kosovo (15,600 ft.). As we wind through beautiful and rarely traveled regions, we enter a high desert plateau, littered with volcanic boulders. Looking south, we view the desert plains as the pinnacles of Mowenzi Peak tower before us. At Kosovo, we prepare for the summit attempt. We spend our time packing and preparing for the early morning, 2 a.m. departure.

Climb Day 5 Start: Karanga Valley 4,055 m/13,300 ft.
End: Kosovo Camp 4,760 m/15,700 ft.
Elevation gain: 700 m/2,300 ft.
Time: 5 hours
Distance: About 5 km/3 miles

Day 9

Summit day! Awake at 11 p.m. for a light meal and midnight departure. We climb wearing headlamps until the predawn light is reflected off the African plains. Following a distinct ridge, we approach the crater’s rim, then traverse northwest along the rim to the main summit, Uhuru Peak (19,344 ft.). From here we view the Bismarck Towers, rock pinnacles along the rim, the vast crater floor, the tiny Furtwängler Glacier, the ash pit, and the large northern ice cap. We then descend back to High Camp for a short rest and lunch before packing up and continuing down to our last camp on the mountain — Millennium Camp — at 12,250 ft.

Summit day average times:
Kosovo—Summit 7–8 hours
Summit—Kosovo 2–3 hours
Kosovo—Millenium 2.5–3 hours

Climb Day 6
High Camp to Summit
Start: Kosovo camp 4,815 m/15,800 ft.
Summit: Uhuru Peak 5,896 m/19,344 ft.
Elevation gain: 1,080 m/3,544 ft.
Time: 9–11 hours average return to Kosovo
Distance: About 7 km/6 miles

Kosovo Camp to Millennium Camp
Start: Kosovo Camp 4,815 m/15,800 ft.
Millennium Camp 3,733 m/12,250 ft.
Time: 2.5–3 hours
Distance: About 5.6 km/3.5 miles

Day 10

The sunrise is exquisite as we awaken at 5 a.m. below the towering mountain. We depart by 7 a.m., descending through the lush green landscape of the Mweka route into the thickest jungle we have yet encountered. The environment becomes primordial, with 20-ft. fern trees creating a prehistoric atmosphere. After reaching the Mweka Gate, we enjoy a festive celebration with our crew, followed by a hot buffet lunch. Our two-hour return drive to Arusha has us back in time for showers, and to enjoy a celebratory dinner together. We will have a 30-minute safari briefing before dinner. O/N New Arusha.

Day 7: Start: Millennium camp 3,733 m/12,250 ft.
End: Mweka Gate 1,800 m/5,580 ft.
Elevation loss: 2,033 m/6,670 ft.
Time: 5 hours average
Distance: About 13.5 km/8.4 miles

Day 11

(Safari itinerary subject to change. Based on team size and availability, travel order of safari parks may be reversed). Begin the safari to Tarangire National Park. This beautiful valley overlooks African grassland, sprinkled with acacia and baobab trees and is known for its variety of large mammals. Here we overnight comfortably in a deluxe safari lodge.

After enjoying a long, leisurely game drive between herds of wild animals and along miles of Africa’s seemingly endless roads, we will come over a slight rise and the lodge appears almost immediately below us. Built to blend in with the vastness of its surroundings, Tarangire Sopa Lodge lies hidden among the kopjes, ancient baobab and grasses of the Tarangire National Park – home to the greatest concentration of elephants in Africa. Many can be seen around the lodge, allowing visitors a close encounter.

Day 12

After lunch we may visit a Masai village where we observe the tribal dance and local life-styles of the nomadic herders of the region. We then travel to Ngorongoro Crater and overnight comfortably in a deluxe safari lodge perched on the rim of the crater.

Facing the always magnificent sunsets to the west, and located at the highest point on Ngorongoro crater’s entire rim, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge stands well over half a km above the crater floor and offers unparalleled views across this enormous caldera.

Themed around traditionally circular African houses with conical roofs, and decorated with examples of Africa’s rich tapestry of artistic traditions by way of rich woodcarvings and sculptures, the lodge harmonizes perfectly with its dramatic surroundings. But the drama does not just stop with the great outdoors: it also flows through the split-level interiors of the main building which all offer an unsurpassed generosity of space while somehow managing to combine an almost magically welcoming ambience of both warmth and coziness.

Day 13

We spend the morning in Ngorongoro Crater, one of the world’s most incredible natural wonders. Here we encounter herds of zebra, antelope, buffalo, elephant, rhino, cheetah, and hippo. After lunch we proceed with a game drive through Serengeti National Park en route to a deluxe safari lodge and dinner.

Located on the edge of the escarpment overlooking the plains of the southwestern Serengeti National Park, home to many thousands of wild and rare animals, Serengeti Sopa Lodge lies within an area of out-standing natural beauty. An oasis of cool relaxation from the equatorial sun. The lodge allows its guests to experience magnificent sights and enjoy interaction with the land and animals difficult to find elsewhere, while at the same time enjoying the highest level of cuisine and hospitality.

Day 14

There is an option for a spectacular sunrise balloon ride. We fly back to Arusha (weather permitting) for a farewell lunch at the lodge, and then prepare for late night international departures.

Day 15

Arrive country of origin.

Lemosho Route Intinerary - Climb Kilimanjaro

Upon sign up, we will send you our richly detailed, pre-trip Climber Information Package.

Our climbs begin and end via flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania.

Most flights directly to Arusha are not available for purchase online. For travel arrangements, we recommend Charles Mulvehill at Scan East West Travel: 1-800-727-2157 or 206-623 2157. Or email charles@scaneastwest.com

Day 1

Depart country of origin for Kilimanjaro International Airport, Tanzania (JRO).

Day 2

Arrive in Tanzania. Airport pick up and transfer to Arusha Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania.

Day 3

Orientation and gear check. We meet over breakfast at the hotel and join a detailed group orientation covering all aspects of the climb. After lunch we have a thorough equipment check and those interested can join a walking tour (offsite) of Arusha, before a team dinner. O/N Arusha Hotel.

Lemosho Route start to finish. Data is approximate.
Distance: 76 km/47.2 miles
Elevation gain: 4,818 m/15,807 ft.
Elevation loss: 4,858 m/15,938 ft.

Day 4

Drive to Londorossi Gate, approximately two hours. After completing the necessary registration formalities at Londorossi Gate, we drive through varied farmland with open views over the plains to reach the Lemosho trail head. Here we will meet our local Tanzanian staff, most of whom are Chagga tribe from the area around Kilimanjaro. It is an easy day of walking up a small path through beautiful and lush forest. We camp at Big Tree Camp/Mti Mkumbwa.

Start: Lemosho trailhead 2,100 m/6,750 ft.
End: Big Tree Camp 2,850 m/9,200 ft.
Elevation gain: 750 m/2,440 ft.
Time: 4 hours on average
Distance: About 5 km/3 miles

Day 5

Big Tree/Mti Mkubwa Camp to Shira I Camp. We soon leave the forest behind and enter the moorland zone of giant heather. This is perhaps the most unique of the different ecological zones on Kilimanjaro. The trail climbs steadily with wide views to reach the rim of the Shira Plateau. There is a tangible sense of wilderness, especially if afternoon mists come in. We camp in the center of the large Shira Volcanic Plateau at Shira I.

Start: Big Tree Camp 2,850 m/9,200 ft.
End: Shira I Camp 3,505 m/11,500 ft.
Elevation gain: 700 m/2,300 ft.
Time: 7 hours average
Distance: About 9 km/5.6 miles

Day 6

Shira I Camp to Moir Camp, 13,500 ft. (4,114 m). Moir Camp is tucked away at the end of a large gorge, below a giant lava flow. We travel through the upper range of the moorlands zone, crossing the large Shira Plateau, and ascend gradually on easy terrain. Here we are on the northwest side of the mountain, above Kenya. This spectacular camp is located beneath the northern ice fields of Kilimanjaro.

Start: Shira I Camp 3,505 m/11,500 ft.
End: Moir Camp 4,114 m/13,500 ft.
Elevation gain: 600 m/2,000 ft.
Time: 6 hours average
Distance: About 10 km/6 miles

Day 7

We ascend through the upper moorland zone into the alpine desert zone arriving at Lava Tower Camp (15,090 ft.). As noted, this day takes us out of the heath zone and into alpine desert. This is a shorter day, where we are very close to the dramatic western face of the mountain. We sleep at just over 15,000 ft., critical for acclimatizing to the elevation of our High Camp, which we will reach on climb Day 6. There is time for short acclimatization walks for those that are interested. Very scenic mountain views.

Start: Moir Camp 4,114 m/13,500 ft.
End: Lava Tower Camp 4,600 m/15,090 ft.
Elevation gain: 490 m/1,500 ft.
Time: 3.5 hours average
Distance: About 5 km/3.1 miles

Day 8

We descend 2,000 ft. through dramatic scenery to the Barranco Valley before ascending the famous Barranco wall to Karanga Valley Camp. This is one of our longer days, but excellent for acclimatization. From camp we can see some wonderful sunsets and have views of the glacier valley and ice fields above.

Start: Lava Tower Camp 4,600 m/15,090 ft.
End: Karanga Camp 4,053 m/13,300 ft.
Elevation gain: 442 m/1,450 ft.
Elevation loss: 762 m/2,500 ft.
Time: 7 hours average
Distance: About 11 km/7 miles

Day 9

From the Karanga River we climb about five to six hours to our camp at Kosovo (15,600 ft.). As we wind through beautiful and rarely traveled regions, we enter a high desert plateau, littered with volcanic boulders. Looking south we view the desert plains as the pinnacles of Mawenzi Peak tower before us. Another night above 15,000 ft. prepares us for sleeping in the crater. At Kosovo we prepare for the summit attempt. We spend our time resting and preparing for our departure the next morning. There will be a detailed summit briefing covering the climb and the crater camp with options to sleep lower than the crater if needed.

Start: Karanga Valley 4,055 m/13,300 ft.
End: Kosovo Camp 4,760 m/15,600 ft.
Elevation gain: 700 m/2,300 ft.
Time: 5-6 hours
Distance: About 5 km/3 miles

Day 10

Summit day and Crater Camp. Awake early in the morning and prepare for the ascent, leaving at approximately 6 a.m. Following a distinct ridge, we approach the crater’s rim, then traverse northwest along the rim to the main summit, Uhuru Peak (19,344 ft.). From here we view the Bismarck Towers, rock pinnacles along the rim, and the hanging Rebman Glaciers.
After enjoying the view from the top, we descend down to the crater to camp for the day and night. There are options to visit the tiny Furtwängler Glacier in the crater floor, as well as climb up to the ash pit rim to look down into the blow hole of the volcano.

High Camp to Summit Start: Kosovo Camp 4,760 m
Summit: Uhuru Peak 5,896 m/19,344 ft.
Elevation gain: 1,136 m/3,726 ft.
Time: 7-9 hours average
Distance: About 7 km/3.4 miles

Descent Start: Uhuru Peak 5,896 m/19,344 ft.
End: Crater Camp 5,600 m/18,700 ft.
OR
Kosovo Camp 4,760 m/15,600 ft.
Elevation loss: 200 m/1,100 ft.
Time: 1-3 hours

Day 11

The sunrises are exquisite as we awaken in the crater. After breakfast, we descend down from the crater all the way to Mweka Camp at 10,000 ft. on the edge of the forest zone. We enjoy views of the towering mountain above us as we descend through the heather to our last night on the mountain.

Start: Crater Camp 5,600 m/18,700 ft.
End: Mweka Camp 3,000 m/10,000 ft.
Elevation loss: 3,000 m/9,344 ft.
Time: 7-8 hours descent
Distance: About 14.2 km/9 miles

Day 12

We descend the lush green landscape of the Mweka route into the thickest jungle we have yet encountered. The environment becomes primordial, with 40-ft. fern trees creating a prehistoric atmosphere. After reaching the Mweka Gate, we have a celebration lunch and drive to Arusha, clean up at the hotel, and enjoy a celebratory dinner. O/N Arusha Hotel

Start: Mweka Camp 3,100 m/10,200 ft.
End: Mweka Gate 1,800 m/5,580 ft.
Elevation loss: 1,300 m/5,900 ft.
Time: 4 hours average
Distance: About 7 km/4 miles

Day 13

(Safari itinerary subject to change. Based on team size and availability, travel order of safari parks may be reversed). We begin the safari with a 2.25-hour drive to Tarangire National Park. We continue with a game drive all afternoon, enjoying boxed lunches along the way. This beautiful valley overlooks African grasslands, sprinkled with acacia and baobab trees and is known for its concentration of elephants, giraffe, and bird life. Here we overnight comfortably in a deluxe safari lodge located deep within the park.

Built to blend in with the vastness of its surroundings, Tarangire Sopa Lodge lies hidden among the kopjes, ancient baobab, and grasses of the Tarangire National Park – home to the greatest concentration of elephants in Africa. Many can be seen around the lodge, allowing visitors a close encounter.

Day 14

After an early breakfast, we travel 2.5 hours to Ngorongoro Crater for an extended afternoon game drive in the crater floor with boxed lunches. Ngorongoro Crater, one of the world’s most incredible natural wonders, is the largest unbroken caldera in the world, part of the volcanic highlands along the western flank of the Great Rift Valley. Here we encounter herds of zebra, antelope, buffalo, and elephant. Sightings of lions, rhino, cheetahs, and hyena are common. We overnight comfortably in a deluxe safari lodge perched spectacularly on the rim of the crater.

Facing the always magnificent sunsets to the west, and located at the highest point on Ngorongoro crater’s entire rim, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge stands well over half a km above the crater floor and offers unparalleled views across this enormous caldera.

Themed around traditionally circular African houses with conical roofs and decorated with examples of Africa’s rich tapestry of artistic traditions by way of rich woodcarvings and sculptures, the lodge harmonizes perfectly with its dramatic surroundings. But the drama does not stop with the great outdoors; it also flows through the split-level interior of the main building, which offers an unsurpassed generosity of space while somehow managing to combine an almost magically welcoming ambience of both warmth and coziness.

Day 15

After an early breakfast, we proceed 2.5 hours to the vast Serengeti National Park. We enjoy a long afternoon game drive with boxed lunches through the southwestern portion of the park. Common sightings include zebras, wildebeest, antelope, lions, giraffe, hippos, elephant, cheetah, and sometimes the elusive leopard. We overnight in a deluxe safari lodge that lies hidden in the surroundings.

Located on the edge of the escarpment overlooking the plains of the southwestern Serengeti National Park, home to many thousands of wild and rare animals, Serengeti Sopa Lodge lies within an area of out-standing natural beauty. It is an oasis of cool relaxation from the equatorial sun. The lodge allows its guests to experience magnificent sights and enjoy interaction with the land and animals — difficult to find elsewhere — while at the same time enjoy the highest level of cuisine and hospitality.

Day 16

There is an option for a spectacular sunrise balloon ride. We enjoy a game drive in route to Seronera, where we fly back to the local airport in Arusha (weather permitting) for a farewell lunch at the Arusha Hotel and then prepare for late-night international departures.

Day 17

Arrive country of origin.

Yes! It exceeded my expectations. The crew were amazing, friendly and each person was great at what they do. The camp set up was impressive, always in a premium spot, tents ready and bags unpacked at each location (which I did not expect!) The level of attention on summit night was also wonderful and really […]

Climb Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents
Kilimanjaro from the plains.
Climb Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents
Climb Kilimanjaro. Photo: Ben Jones.
Photo: Ben Jones.
Climb Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents
Taking a pause in the Senecio Cactus on the way to our first camp.
Taking a pause in the Senecio Cactus on the way to our first camp.
Climb Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents
Climb Kilimanjaro. Photo: Ben Jones.
Climbing Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents
Sunrise view from the crater.
Sunrise view from the crater while climbing Kilimanjaro.
Climbing Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents
Another successful summit!
Climbing Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents
Kilimanjaro. Heading to the summit.
Climbing Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents
Porters make their way up to high camp.
Climbing Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents
Kilimanjaro from the plains.
Climbing Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents
Kilimanjaro. Photo: Ben Jones.
Photo: Ben Jones.
Climbing Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents
Kilimanjaro. Photo: Ben Jones.
Photo: Ben Jones.
Climbing Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents
On the way to the summit.
Climbing Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents
Kilimanjaro. Photo: Ben Jones.
Photo: Ben Jones.
Kilimanjaro Climbing Expedition with Alpine Ascents
Kilimanjaro. Photo: Ben Jones.
Photo: Ben Jones.
Kilimanjaro Climbing Expedition with Alpine Ascents
Heading up to the summit.
Heading up to the summit.
Kilimanjaro Climbing Expedition with Alpine Ascents
Porters make their way up to high camp.
Kilimanjaro Climbing Expedition with Alpine Ascents
Kilimanjaro from the plains.
Kilimanjaro Climbing Expedition with Alpine Ascents
Another successful summit!
Kilimanjaro Climbing Expedition with Alpine Ascents
Porter make their way up to high camp.
Porter on the way to high camp.
Kilimanjaro Climbing Expedition with Alpine Ascents Climb Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents Mount Kilimanjaro Guides
Kilimanjaro Climbing Expedition with Alpine Ascents
Kilimanjao. Our dining tent on Day 1. Photo: Eric Murphy
Our Dining Tent on Day 1.
Kilimanjaro Climbing Expedition with Alpine Ascents
Climbing across the crater on the way to the summit.
Climbing across the crater on the way to the summit.
Kilimanjaro Climbing Expedition with Alpine Ascents
Kilimanjaro. Photo: Ben Jones.
Photo: Ben Jones.
Climb Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents Guides
Kilimanjaro. Photo: Ben Jones.
Photo: Ben Jones.
Climb Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents Guides
Kilimanjaro. Photo: Ben Jones.
Photo: Ben Jones.
Climb Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents Guides
Kilimanjaro. Photo: Ben Jones.
Photo: Ben Jones.
Climb Kilimanjaro with Alpine Ascents Guides
Enjoying a typical sunset from Machame Camp.
Enjoying a typical sunset from Machame Camp.

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